Three potential mass shootings have been foiled within three days of each other, US police say.
A 20-year-old who threatened a Jewish centre in Ohio, a 22-year-old man who posted about carrying out a mass shooting in Connecticut and a 25-year-old man from Florida who texted his ex-girlfriend saying he wanted to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever” were all arrested between Thursday and Saturday.
James Reardon Jr
In Ohio, James Reardon Jr was arrested after allegedly making a threat on Instagram against the Jewish Community Centre of Youngstown.
When police searched his home they found semi-automatic weapons, bullets and antisemitic literature.
He was arrested on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges on Saturday.
Police say he posted a video of a man, thought to be the suspect, shooting a semi-automatic rifle, with the caption “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon”, according to US news site WKBN-TV.
The account, which police say belongs to Reardon, has the username @ira_seamus and contained a number of images of the suspect, or someone who looks similar, shooting guns, as well as antisemitic and white nationalist content.
Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio told US news site CNN: “For a town of 1,700 people, this was a pretty intense situation.”
The news site also confirmed with police that Reardon appeared in a documentary about a far-right rally in 2017.
In the National Geographic film, Reardon, then aged 18, said he did not call himself a neo-Nazi, but a white nationalist and a member of the alt-right.
“I want a homeland for white people, and I think every race should have a homeland for their race,” Reardon said.
Andy Lipkin, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation’s executive vice-president, said they were working with police and that more security had been put in place.
“I want to stress that we know of no other threat to the Jewish Community or to any of our agencies at this point in time,” he said in a statement posted on the organisation’s website .
“Nonetheless, I have directed that we maintain the additional level of security for the near future.”
Tristan Scott Wix
The 25-year-old Florida man was arrested after his ex-girlfriend told police he texted her that he wanted to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever”, according to US reports.
In a series of messages, Tristan Scott Wix said he wanted to reach 100 victims and had decided on a location.
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released a selection of messages allegedly sent by Wix. They include:
- “A school is a weak target.. I’d be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever.”
- “But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”
- “Ah well even if you told someone, me saying I wanna do it and think about it is not the same as actually doing it lol. Was kinda hoping someone would come into my life worth not doing it for, for the sake of all those people (laughing cry face emoji). I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world.”
After being arrested at a supermarket in Daytona Beach Shores, Wix told police he didn’t own firearms but was fascinated with mass shootings.
The 22-year-old was charged on Thursday with illegal possession of large capacity ammunition magazines after police got a tip that Wagshol was trying to buy large-capacity rifle magazines from out of state.
Police say they believe Wagshol was trying to build a rifle with parts bought online and was posting on Facebook about his desire to carry out a mass shooting.
One recent post on his Instagram appeared to show himself wearing body armour. He captioned it: “If you don’t own titanium body armor in 2019 you’re a pleb.”
Weapons and body armour were found at his home, Norwalk police department said.
A statement from the police said officers found a 40-calibre handgun, a 22-calibre rifle, a rifle scope with laser, rounds of ammunition, body armour with a titanium plate, a camouflage shirt, pant and belt, a ballistic helmet, tactical gloves, a camouflage bag and computers.
They said the firearms were registered to Wagshol’s father, who lives at the same home, and were accessible to the suspect.
A police spokesperson said: “A tip from a vigilant citizen helped the FBI and the Norwalk Police Department disrupt a potentially dangerous situation.
“We continue to urge the public to please remain alert and to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online. We thank the Norwalk Police Department for their partnership in resolving this matter.”